New York City is perhaps the most competitive market for qualified, high-potential teachers and school leaders. There are dozens of high-performing charter schools, big name private schools, and innovative traditional public schools. Additionally, many schools and Charter Management Organizations have well-established recruitment efforts, generous salary and benefits packages, and strong name recognition.
In the 2015-2016 school year, the newly minted network talent team, headed by Chief of Staff, Kathleen Quirk, and assisted by Recruitment and Research Associate, Sarah Fox, worked to centralize hires across all six schools. To compete in this environment, Partnership Schools had to stand out by telling our story in a way that enticed the best and brightest to apply and, ultimately, accept our offers.
This meant creating and managing a robust system with the goal of recruiting and onboarding the best mission aligned teacher and leader talent with a deep commitment to Catholic urban education.
To that end, five levers were identified to use from the network-level to drive recruiting efforts: Brand Development, Broadcast Sourcing, Network Sourcing, Selection & Positioning, and Performance Planning.
- Brand Development: Brand development involves clearly articulating our organizational mission and communicating to potential candidates what sets us apart—what is unique and special about the Partnership.
- Broadcast Sourcing: Broadcast sourcing is a primary sourcing technique that focuses on communicating our brand, advertising our openings, and casting a wide net that attracts as many potentially qualified candidates as possible. Broadcast sourcing emphasizes reach over precision.
- Network Sourcing: Network sourcing is a primary sourcing technique that focuses on expanding the networks of Partnership staff and teachers (via internet research, personal contact and communications, and social media) and leveraging those networks to find mission-minded, quality candidates for open positions. Network sourcing emphasizes precision over reach.
- Selection & Positioning: This strategy focuses on a rigorous selection process to attain top quality candidates for our schools and positioning our schools as attractive opportunities in the job market. High-quality educators are looking to be challenged during the selection process and thrive with real-time feedback and assessment. That rigor, as well as our emphasis on the opportunities our schools provide for individual growth and leadership, is a critical lever to success in hiring.
- Performance Planning: The best Talent Management plans take talent planning seriously throughout the life cycle of each hire. This strategy helps communicate to quality candidates and employees that their growth and professional development is critical to their success at Partnership Schools and our SMO-wide goals.
Through the process, the talent team identified specific criteria to assess the candidates, including: mission alignment, receptivity to feedback, scrappiness, content knowledge, a joyful presence and connection with students, and a steadfast commitment to urban education and the belief that all children can succeed.
Unsurprisingly, the search for the school leadership positions used the network sourcing lever. The pool of aligned candidates for roles as Principals and Deans in our schools quickly proved to be finite and the team doubled down their efforts searching for “passive candidates” – those not explicitly “looking.” Among these, were the top three principal candidates and the two deans hired from outside the network.
As a related Partnership article details, our national principal search, which included over two dozen candidates was successful – Mr. Dukes has taken on the role of the St. Mark principal. (Read: National Search Yields Outstanding Leader for St. Mark School.)
As the reputation of Partnership Schools develops, teachers and leaders stay and grow professionally, a solid pipeline for recruits should also evolve. Eventually, excellent candidates will regard a position with Partnership Schools in the same competitive landscape as our better known schools.